Thursday, March 24, 2011
Past and present-Little Guilin
Also known as Xiao Guilin among the locals, the Little Guilin looks similar to that of Guilin in China - a granite rock sitting within a lake. It was originally a disused granite quarry. In fact, the name "Bukit Batok" has been suggested to be derived from the noise made by the blasting in the granite quarry that now form the natural surroundings of Little Guilin.
Together with Bukit Batok Town Park and the neighbouring Bukit Batok Nature Park, it occupies 77 ha of land in the planning area of Bukit Batok. It encompasses Bukit Gombak, Hong Kah, Brickworks, Hillview, and also Bukit Batok itself. Before being designated as a park, in 1984, the Housing and Development Board had originally intended to fill the quarry up and build a road on it. However, it was converted to a pond instead when it was realized that the existing quarry had rugged granite outcrops and a contrasting backdrop of green hills that gave it a pleasant look. Soon, the surrounding areas were also beautified and made accessible by placing granite blocks on the retaining walls and adding footpaths, lights and seating.
In 1996, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) conceptualised the Development Plan Guide for Yishun and Bukit Batok, which proposed the use of the surrounding parks to enhance the residential landscape for the area. It also proposed links between the Town Park and Nature Parks, and eventually linking them via park connectors to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Sungei Pandan.